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Japanese, and urdu too...

ALL 1,111 pupils at Little Lever school, Bolton, study two languages. And it does not stop once they get to the age of 14.

Not one pupil in Years 10 and 11 has dropped languages at GCSE, though some take the second language as a "short course".

As a language college, the school gets an extra pound;123 a year per pupil to promote languages, both within school and the wider community. The most popular language at GCSE is French, then German and Spanish. But the school also offers Japanese and runs after-school classes in Urdu.

Janet Bowers, head of languages, said: "Everyone in Year 7 does French for three 50-minute periods each week and Japanese for a period a week.

"In Year 8, everyone does French and either German or Spanish, which they carry through to Year 9. Pupils in Years 8 and 9 also get taster lessons in Japanese."

The main problem for the school is finding enough teachers and time for languages. Its Japanese teacher is over from Japan on a work placement while a teacher who works with the local education authority comes in to give a twilight class in Urdu. Mrs Bowers said: "We are very lucky to have someone so committed."

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